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UncommonGoods: Creating unique and sustainable retail

Sustainability can mean a lot of things to a business. For Dave Bolotsky, founder and CEO of UncommonGoods, it’s not just a buzzword; it’s the key to success.

“Before the triple bottom line was known to me as a phrase, I cared about the impact that we, as a company, had on the people that worked for us, as well as the people that sold to us and shopped with us, and also, on the planet.” Bolotsky says. Those “three Ps” — profits, people and planet — shaped the values that have guided UncommonGoods since its founding in 1999.

Dave Bolotsky, CEO, UncommonGoods
Dave Bolotsky, Founder and CEO of UncommonGoods

Bolotsky joins the Retail Gets Real podcast from the NRF Foundation Student Program in New York City to talk about how his background as a retail analyst shaped his approach to starting his own business, and how the concept to sell artisan-made crafts and unique “uncommon items” came together in the early days of online retail.

“As a research analyst, I always look at how many customers are shopping at the store, or in this case, at the craft show. The place was jammed,” Bolotsky says, recounting his first trip to the Smithsonian Craft Show. But that wasn’t all he noticed — he also saw that it was an incredibly inefficient market. “So, I thought bringing this online was a golden opportunity.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about the genesis of UncommonGoods, why it was a founding B Corporation and what it means to lead the company with values.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be sharing more conversations with the greatest leaders and innovators attending NRF 2020 Vision: Retail's Big Show.

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